I t’s an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp — the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn’t return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed. Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp’s done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance — and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her. This debut novel is full of atmosphere, twists and turns, and a swoon-worthy romance.
Who the hell decided to name this lovely book by Natalie Parker Beware The Wild? That title does not do this book justice and makes the whole thing sound like some Hatchet knockoff for preteen boys who want to pretend for a hot second that they could survive in the wild.
Thank God that Parker knows how to tell a story, or else this book would be in big trouble. The magic of Beware The Wild is what makes this book special, or rather the swamp. It’s not a book about fairies, or ghosts or some mythical being that makes the swamp special, the swamp just is magical. No explanation is provided (and while this is mildly irksome to me) it provides a nice shroud of mystery over the entire plot. If nothing else entices you to pick up this book, do it for the swamp.
The characters are okay, although I was surprised with Parker for her use of eating disorders as a plot point.
Let me clarify, however, Parker does not glorify eating disorders, nor she does not curse anyone with an eating disorder, the idea of an eating disorder is part of the plot. The only other thing that makes her character unique is Sterling’s relationship with her brother Phin, which was enjoyable to read, but lacked in the beginning of the story when it was most necessary. Also, to anyone else who has a sibling, who would wait at all to go after their sibling when they run into a dangerous place? Sterling waits, a really long time to finally go after her brother, and as a sibling myself, this made no sense.
Okay, but let’s get back to why this book is worth reading, it’s very unique, the romance is light and easy, not swallowing up her characters, and some of the side characters are just amazing. The villain is even a blast because there is just so many twist an turns around them that the reader has no idea what to expect. So if your in the mood for a fun, mystery with magic and missing siblings, I highly recommend this wonderfully written book.